- Contributed by
- Braintree Library
- People in story:
- Barrie Watkins
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 November 2004
Archie and his friend Lofty on the corvette "Dittany" in 1944
I am still very proud of the bravery shown by my step father, Archie. Like many serving sailors his actions benefited many and yet the injuries he suffered affected the rest of his life.
In fact, it was whilst he was in White Courts Hospital in Braintree undergoing treatment for bad back injuries that my mother met him.
He had been serving as a Royal Navy Petty Officer on Operation Dynamo, assisting in the rescue of troops from Dunkirk. His minesweeper, the Fitzroy successfully rescued 900 men. He served on minesweepers for most of the war and it was on the Fitzroy that he incurred his injuries when in 1941 it hit a mine. One man was killed and ten were injured. Archie was transferred to another minesweeper, The Hambleton. This took part in Operation Torch, part of the North African Campaign. The Hambleton was damaged by a torpedo and Archie was again transferred, this time onto the corvettes in the Atlantic. These corvettes were used to protect the liberty ships bringing essential supplies to England and Russia for the war effort. Archie continued serving in this way until the end of the war.
My step father was medically discharged at the end of the war but his war injuries were to affect him until the end of his life. He worked as a plumber until 1954 when his injuries forced him to give up. He then moved on to work in a plastics factory where he could sit and work. However in 1960 he had to start using a wheelchair which he continued until he died in 1979.
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